Subscribe: Freedom to Tinker
Preview: Freedom to Tinker

Freedom to Tinker

Research and expert commentary on digital technologies in public life

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:36:44 +0000


Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Online Content Moderation

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:09:27 +0000

Yesterday in Berlin, I attended a workshop on the use of artificial intelligence in governing communication online, hosted by the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Context In the United States and Europe, many platforms that host user content, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have enjoyed safe harbor protections for the content they host, […]

What’s new with BlockSci, Princeton’s blockchain analysis tool

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:35:56 +0000

Six months ago we released the initial version of BlockSci, a fast and expressive tool to analyze public blockchains. In the accompanying paper we explained how we used it to answer scientific questions about security, privacy, miner behavior, and economics using blockchain data. BlockSci has a number of other applications including forensics and as an […]

New Jersey Takes Up Net Neutrality: A Summary, and My Experiences as a Witness

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:03:22 +0000

On Monday afternoon, I testified before the New Jersey State Assembly Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation, which is chaired by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, who also happens to represent Princeton’s district. On the committee agenda were three bills related to net neutrality. Let’s quickly review the recent events. In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission […]

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence: Brad Smith at Princeton University

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 22:10:56 +0000

What will artificial intelligence mean for society, jobs, and the economy? Speaking today at Princeton University is Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft. I was in the audience and live-blogged Brad’s talk. CITP director Ed Felten introduces Brad’s lecture by saying that the tech industry is at a crossroads. With the rise […]

No boundaries for credentials: New password leaks to Mixpanel and Session Replay Companies

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 16:25:53 +0000

In this installment of the “No Boundaries” series we show how wholesale collection of user interactions by third-party analytics and session replay scripts cause inadvertent collection of passwords. By Steve Englehardt, Gunes Acar and Arvind Narayanan Following the recent report that Mixpanel, a popular analytics provider, had been inadvertently collecting passwords that users typed into […]

Media Files:

Blockchain: What is it good for?

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 13:02:23 +0000

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are surrounded by world-historic levels of hype and snake oil. For people like me who take the old-fashioned view that technical claims should be backed by sound arguments and evidence, it’s easy to fall into the trap of concluding that there is no there there–and that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are fundamentally useless. […]

How Tech is Failing Victims of Intimate Partner Violence: Thomas Ristenpart at CITP

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:25:48 +0000

What technology risks are faced by people who experience intimate partner violence? How is the security community failing them, and what questions might we need to ask to make progress on social and technical interventions? Speaking Tuesday at CITP was Thomas Ristenpart (@TomRistenpart), an associate professor at Cornell Tech and a member of the Department […]

Are voting-machine modems truly divorced from the Internet?

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:00:20 +0000

(This article is written jointly with my colleague Kyle Jamieson, who specializes in wireless networks.) [See also: The myth of the hacker-proof voting machine] The ES&S model DS200 optical-scan voting machine has a cell-phone modem that it uses to upload election-night results from the voting machine to the “county central” canvassing computer.  We know it’s […]

(Mis)conceptions About the Impact of Surveillance

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:58:51 +0000

Does surveillance impact behavior? Or is its effect, if real, only temporary or trivial? Government surveillance is back in the news thanks to the so-called “Nunes memo”, making this is a perfect time to examine new research on the impact of surveillance. This includes my own recent work, as my doctoral research at the Oxford Internet Institute, […]

Software-Defined Networking: What’s New, and What’s New For Tech Policy?

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:50:38 +0000

The Silicon Flatirons Conference on Regulating Computing and Code is taking place in Boulder. The annual conference addresses a range of issues at the intersection of technology and policy and provides an excellent look ahead to the tech policy issues on the horizon, particularly in telecommunications. I was looking forward to yesterday’s panel on “The […]